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Head, Heart, Hands ... We Are *All In*


Dear Sumner-Bonney Lake Community,

Since our June 2 message, “Standing in Solidarity with Our Communities of Color,” other school leaders and I have responded to countless inquiries about the District’s ongoing initiatives around leading with equity and working to eliminate anti-black bias and other forms of racism in ourselves and in our schools. We very much appreciate your questions, concerns, stories and suggestions on this topic. Together, we are responding to a powerful call to deepen our collective awareness of each other's experiences and to better understand the history that has led us to this moment of racial unrest.

Getting our heads and hearts fully engaged is important, but it is not enough. We also have to roll up our sleeves and keep our hands in this work. While the topics of race and equity have been infused with renewed urgency by the events of recent weeks, this is not a new conversation for us. Our District's Equity Advisory Committee — made up of parents, community members, and staff — was established two years ago and is a dedicated space to deal frankly with the issues we're facing. This committee has identified three primary areas of focus: 

  • develop and implement an anti-bias response plan for all staff, families, and students;
  • identify and provide high quality professional training for staff; and
  • continue building our own and our students' ability to engage in respectful and informed conversations about racial equity.

If you’re interested in being a part of this work, there will be opportunities to apply for the Equity Advisory Committee in August.

Also, I want to encourage you to participate in our upcoming 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. Learn more about the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.

As we close out this school year that defies all attempts at description,  I want to congratulate the class of 2020 and all our students, families, staff, and community. I celebrate how hard you have all worked to make yourselves and your community better this year. 

Even though the school year is coming to a close, our work is not. We will continue to show up with grit and perseverance, kindness and respect, and a spirit of listening and learning. Above all, we will maintain our sense of hope and our belief in what is possible when we truly come together … and together we will find our way forward. As poet Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, "Remember, we were made for these times."

Laurie Dent, Ph.D.
Superintendent, Sumner-Bonney Lake School District